A Walk in the Dark
Not long ago I went for a long walk along the streets of downtown Toronto – with about three hundred people. It was a 10km loop that took us through some of the most well known and cared for parts of the city and through some of the most neglected and forgotten places.
We were walking as part of the The Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser for the homeless in Canada. We walked with a sense of community. As well, we walked for persons who experience so much of life alone, isolated or alienated from many of the resources and support systems I have taken for granted.
These street survivors rely upon street smarts. They call upon hidden reserves which few would dare call “spiritual.” Yet that is the deep truth of it! How else are they kept alive, but by God’s grace, and their own honest faith that there is more to life than what lies before them. As they hunger for food, there is another hunger that keeps their spirits alive – that hope of being fed by another Spirit, One who will never leave them, no matter how tragic or terrifying the circumstance.
My walk along the streets of Toronto has started me wondering again, about the difference between being”church-smart” and having the kind of spiritual reserves that get us through – even grow us through – the events and life crises we face. If pushed to the brink, spiritually, how well would I do?
Henri Nouwen writes, in his lenten devotional book, Show Me the Way, “…we persistently fall back on ourselves, rely more on ourselves than on God, and are inclined more to love of self than to love of God.”
I am realizing more and more that the real test of my faith comes, not from any one crisis that might push me to the brink, but out of the countless experiences and relationships that occur this day, as I am choosing to walk in the light of God’s love rather than the darkness of my own best efforts.
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